Locavores – Eating Local

Organic To Be

You hear a lot about eating locally these days. It’s one of the three pillars of eating correctly: 1) eat organic; 2) eat local; 3) eat in season. And all three pillars are important. But let’s take a closer look at “eat locally.” Let’s see what that really means, and why that’s such a good idea. And why, in the final analysis, it may be the most important pillar of them all.

Some aspects are obvious. When we eat locally produced food—grown within our local “foodshed,” as the current argot has it—we shorten the supply line from farm to table. Less gasoline or diesel fuel is used to transport the food from where it’s grown to where it’s bought and consumed. That means less air pollutants from fossil fuels and less carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere on behalf of moving the food to market. So, eating locally produced organic food lessens the amount of greenhouse gases used to produce and transport that food.

Eating locally means supporting local farmers. This means keeping local family farmers on their land. Wendell Berry has written eloquently about the social benefits of strong, local farm economies. They translate into strong local communities. And they are the soil from which real democracy grows. Instead of being cogs in a massive production machine, family farmers are their own bosses. They are people who can voice their honest opinions without fear of losing their jobs. They can tell the truth, and the truth is contagious. It also sets us free.

Family farmers are also locally-focused, practical ecologists and environmentalists. Their environmentalism is not based on ideology, but on an intimate knowledge of the land under their care. They know where the pheasants and the quail lay their eggs, and can protect those spots…

More at our companion blog OrganicToBe.com

One Comment

Nice little blurb on local food. Just wanted to mention something about the Full Circle Farm people.

Ironically, I was reading a post on freshmanfarmer.com and someone’s was grumbling about them. They are a struggling small CSA that struggles competing with the likes of Full Circle Farm who is over 100 miles away. Checking out their website, I noticed they also ship to Alaska and source ginger from Hawaii. Not to say that I don’t eat food shipped from further away (only the apocalypse will pry the coffee cup from my cold dead hand), and not saying that their service is as bad as Walmart, it’s still probably not what most people would consider local.

This year Paula and I will be working with Stephen and Gloria of Live Power to plug into their spring-fall CSA rather then start a competing one. Hopefully, we won’t become what it seems Full Circle Farm, or Farm Fresh to You in Capay Valley as another example, are. I think there is a difference between collaboration and collusion.